The role of melatonin and melatonin agonists in counteracting antipsychotic-induced metabolic side effects: a systematic review

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This systematic review aims to investigate whether melatonin or melatonin agonists significantly attenuate metabolic side effects among psychiatric populations treated with atypical antipsychotics. Four randomized-controlled trials were identified through a comprehensive literature search using MEDLINE, EMBASE, and the Cochrane Library on 22 October 2015. These four trials (including three melatonin studies and one ramelteon study) included 138 patients, of whom 71 were treated with melatonin or ramelteon and 67 were treated with a placebo. Because of high heterogeneity, we did not carry out a meta-analysis. Melatonin was beneficial in lowering blood pressure among bipolar disorder patients; this blood pressure-lowering effect was not prominent among schizophrenic patients. Melatonin appeared to improve lipid profiles and body composition and attenuated weight gain among both schizophrenic and bipolar disorder patients. Ramelteon showed a significant efficacy in lowering total cholesterol level. Despite the few studies included, this systematic review provided promising evidence of the potential benefits of melatonin and its agonists in attenuating one or more components of metabolic syndrome among psychiatric patients using atypical antipsychotics.

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